The Humboldt Eagles 19U avoided a series sweep in a thrilling showdown at Bomber Field in Eureka on Friday night, edging the Humboldt B52s 10-9 in 12 innings.
After dropping the opening two games of the series against their more experienced rivals, the Eagles got rewarded for a competitive showing this week, pulling out the hard-fought win after battling the B52s close in the earlier matchups.
And they did it in spectacular fashion, overcoming an 8-2 deficit in the ninth with many of their bench players in the game.
“It was an absolute miracle win,” Eagles head coach Matt Tomlin said.
Facing a six-run deficit in the top of the ninth, Tomlin put some of his younger players in to get them some game time, and they repaid their coach’s faith by coming through in the clutch.
There were many heroes for the Eagles.
Cody Emmons continued his remarkable start to the season by going 5-for-7 with three RBIs and three runs scored, while Arcata’s Damien Shelton hit a key three-run triple to left field.
Behind the plate, shortstop/pitcher Bode Joyner came through as a makeshift catcher, while infielder JB Lewis found himself in the unfamiliar surroundings of right field.
“We were just scrambling to fill holes,” Tomlin said.
But of all the Eagles in this remarkable win, it was the South Fork duo of C.J. Van Meter and Scott Coffelt that stepped up most of all.
Van Meter pitched six strong innings but was forced out of the game in the 10th after reaching the maximum 120-pitch count.
He looked composed against the college bats.
“C.J. was amazing for us,” Tomlin said.
Ironically for a team loaded with outstanding pitching, Tomlin was unable to call on any of his regular guys in the 11th.
Instead he turned to Coffelt, who hadn’t pitched since the 2018 North Coast Section Division-VI championship game but held the B52 bats in check and did enough to get the win.
That wasn’t all he did.
The Sac City College redshirt also drove in the winning run in the top of the 12th.
The two teams were tied at 8-8 after 10 innings, and tied again at 9-9 going into the 12th.
All in all, it was a very impressive showing for a team of local high school and young college all-stars that much is expected out of in the coming months.
“This team is going to be special this summer,” the head coach said. “We battled a college team in three close games.”
The Eagles, who improved to 5-2, will play the Humboldt Eagles 17U on Saturday, while the B52s (4-2) will travel to Healdsburg for a two-game weekend series against the Prune Packers.
The B52s have won both of their opening two series of the season.